Cold-Blooded Books for Budding Herpetologists

I grew up with three sisters.  I do not remember any conversations about snakes or lizards.  Not one.

Now I have two sons.  By the time my older son, Alex, was four years old, he insisted on picking out his own books when we went to the library.  No more charming picture books for him—oh no.  He wanted books with more…bite.  Sharks, spiders, lizards…and especially snakes.

I was appalled to find out how many snake books were in our little local library.

Each year spawns more and more reptile books, and this year is no exception.  So here are some titles for any intermediate budding herpetologists you may know.

Nic Bishop is a renowned wildlife photographer who has written about frogs, spiders, butterflies and moths, and marsupials.  In his latest, Lizards, he combines his dazzling photography with conversational text to show just how fascinating lizards are.  I especially enjoyed the end notes, in which he explained some of the problems he had in finding and photographing his trickier subjects, including what it took to get shots of a lizard running across water and of a chameleon catching its dinner.

A new high-interest series, Wild About Snakes, is perfect for reptile enthusiasts as well as report writers. Each title explores the physical characteristics of a particular wild snake, as well as its habitat, behavior, and life cycle.  Anacondas, Cobras, Garter Snakes, and Rattlesnakes are already out, and in August watch out for Boa Constrictors, Black Mambas, Kingsnakes, and Pythons.


By the time Alex was eight, he was no longer satisfied with just reading about reptiles—oh no.  “Mom, can I HAVE a snake?”  So here are two series to satisfy (encourage?) hopeful pet owners.

The My Pet series (Weigl) includes a separate book for snakes, geckos, and iguanas.  As well as providing general information about the animal, each book discusses questions one should ask before becoming a pet owner.  What type of habitat does the animal need?  What does it eat?  How often should it be handled? How BIG will it grow?  Colorful photographs and fact boxes help to engage kids who are taking this first step toward pet ownership.

Keeping Unusual Pets is another great series for helping kids understand the responsibilities of owning not-so-common pets, including snakes and lizards.  A bit more advanced than the My Pet series, these titles explain the pros and cons of owning a snake or a lizard, the emotional side of owning a pet, and how to choose the right animal and care for it.

By the time Alex was 13, he was providing all the care for his reptiles—oh yes, you saw the plural suffix (a Kenyan sand boa, a ball python, a leopard gecko, and a blue-tongued skink).  And about that time, my younger son, Nathan, started asking, “Mom, can I have a bird?”

But that might have to be another post.


Anacondas (Wild About Snakes) by Megan Kopp. 2011.

Black Mambas (Wild About Snakes) by Melanie A. Howard. 2011.

Boa Constrictors (Wild About Snakes) by Melanie A. Howard. 2011.

Cobras (Wild About Snakes) by Megan Kopp. 2011.

Garter Snakes (Wild About Snakes) by Heather L. Montgomery. 2011.

Gecko (My Pet) by Rennay Craats. 2010.

Iguana (My Pet) by Elizabeth Simon. 2011.

Kingsnakes (Wild About Snakes) by Heather L. Montgomery. 2011.

Lizards by Nic Bishop. 2010.

Lizards (Keeping Unusual Pets) by Peter Heathcote. 2010.

Pythons (Wild About Snakes) by Dianna Dorisi-Winget. 2011

Rattlesnakes (Wild About Snakes) by Heather L. Montgomery. 2011.

Snake (My Pet) by Rennay Craats. 2011.

Snakes (Keeping Unusual Pets) by Sonia Hernandez-Divers. 2010.

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